Radon is a naturally occurring gas that forms underground when radioactive materials break down in the soil. It can be found in soil, groundwater, and even the air we breathe. Because radon is colorless and odorless, it is impossible to detect without a test. Here are some things you should know about radon in the home.
Radon in Homes
Radon can seep up through the soil and enter a home through gaps and cracks in the foundation. Over time, the gas can accumulate in your indoor environment and cause health issues. Because we spend so much time at home, radon gas is a threat that should be taken seriously.
Levels of radon will vary from place to place and even from house to house in the same neighborhood. Testing is important. Just because your neighbor’s home doesn’t have high levels of radon gas doesn’t mean that your property is safe.
Dangers of Radon in the Home
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States just after cigarette smoking. When high levels of the gas are inhaled over a long period of time, the radioactive particles can damage the cells in the lungs.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that around 21,000 Americans die from lung cancer due to radon exposure every year. Because exposure to radon gas doesn’t produce other symptoms, often the only way a person knows they’ve been exposed is with a diagnosis of lung cancer.
Testing for Radon Gas
Hire a professional to conduct a test for this gas. There are DIY test kits available at hardware and home improvement stores, however, these tests aren’t as reliable as one performed by a trained professional. A pro has superior testing equipment and will know how to test properly and correctly read and interpret the results.
Dealing with Radon in the Home
If you discover that your house does have elevated levels of radon, hire a qualified radon mitigator. A professional can design a system that promotes airflow and helps to move radon gas out of your home. After the system is in place, have your home tested again in 30 days to verify the mitigation system is working as it should. It’s still important to have annual radon tests to improve indoor air quality and keep your home and family safe.